Sunday, December 25, 2022

#360 / Don't Forget To Count To Three


Today is a good day for a reflection on Christmas. 

Last year on Christmas, I was talking about Santa Claus. This year, I guess, I am feeling a little more "religious." 
Christmas Day (if we are religiously inclined), celebrates the birth of Jesus, the "Christ," Immanuel, "God with us." The baby Jesus is the featured player in the celebrations of the day, and I don't want to take anything away from the power of this image:

Let me suggest, however, that when we consider Christmas we should "count to three." As that familiar hymn puts it: 

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise (1) Father, (2) Son, and (3) Holy Ghost!
When you do "count to three," you end up with that "Holy Ghost" part of the Trinity, that manifestation of God, as Holy Spirit, that arrives from the "inside," not from the "outside." 
This is that Spirit to which the "Quakers" repair, as they wait in silence for God to become present among them, and to speak through the human voice of one, or another, of those persons who have gathered together with both patience and anticipation, precisely to hear what the Spirit will say. 

While meeting with others, in faithful anticipation, in the Quaker tradition, is one good way to be able to "get to three," and to experience the presence of "God with us" (and this is, in fact, the promise of Christmas), the presence of the Holy Spirit within us can also be an "individual" experience. 
The fact that I had just such an experience recently, as I walked about town, is undoubtedly why I am feeling more "religious" this year than I was a year ago. My message, I guess, for this Christmas Day, is a suggestion that we should all "pay attention." 

That simple thing, just "paying attention," can get us to that "number three," an awareness of the loving presence within us of that Holy Spirit that created the world, and then did something so extraordinary, so many years ago, that the reverberations of the event are still sounding deep within us. 

"Counting to three" is what I am advising: 
(1) Be in awe of the "Father," the Creator of this world into which we have been so mysteriously born (we didn't do it ourselves). This is pretty much the message I delivered last Christmas.
(2) Celebrate the "Son," looking to the model of Jesus, and thinking about how Jesus conducted himself. That is, I think, a pretty good way to find an inner ability to love this world, and all those who live within it - and to do that whether the people you encounter are "good," or "bad," or share your politics, or not. A lot of stories from the Bible seem to say that Jesus did that. 
(3) Wait and be attentive for the "Holy Spirit," that "number three." It is possible to experience, directly within yourself, the power to face down death and all its works, and to become aware of the ever-present love to which we all have access. 
And.... in the vocabulary of the season, on December 25, 2022:

Have A Merry Christmas!
Image Credits:
(1) - Gary A. Patton, personal photo 
(2) -

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